Community members in Salima district, Malawi, are forming an important alliance with honey bees. In response to widespread deforestation and land degradation they are dedicating areas of land to natural regeneration, allowing shrubs and trees to grow once more. However, despite by-laws and penalties, some people are not yet respecting these protected areas.
Bees, when disturbed, can give a nasty sting, so the communities are hanging bee hives made from earth pots, logs, baskets, tins and plastic buckets from the trees. The buzz of these busy creatures is helping to keep intruders out.
The communities have noticed that the honey harvests are much higher in the reforested areas, compared to areas without trees. This is because the bees have easy access to sufficient water, nectar and pollen. Their pollination activities are also helping the forest and surrounding crops to flourish which, in turn, is encouraging more people to keep bees and look after the trees.